Just As I Thought

Bookmark Round Up

Here are a few things that have been patiently sitting in my dock, waiting for the blog to be working.

Via Terry Kevin comes this handy dandy quiz to codify your beliefs and choose a faith. My results? My beliefs synch up with the Unitarian Universalists 100%. I match up with the Liberal Quakers at 96%. Interesting… perhaps I should take a look at these churches, eh?

Proposal Would Hit Blue State Taxpayers
How many ways will the Bush administration find to punish his opponents? Perhaps they will start by creating a tax structure that penalizes the people in so-called “blue” states:

Some conservative activists are urging the Bush administration to scrap the federal deduction for state and local taxes as part of a broader plan to revamp the nation’s tax system.

Although the proposal would hurt some taxpayers in nearly every state, it would hit hardest in states with higher-than-average income levels and bigger-than-average state and local tax burdens. High on the list are a number of blue states — those that were carried by Democrat Sen. John F. Kerry in last month’s presidential election.

Taxpayers in California and New York, for example, which have top state income tax rates of 9.3% and 6.5% respectively, would be highly affected; residents of Florida and Texas, which have no state income taxes, much less so.

I’m not so worried about people with higher-than-average incomes paying more in taxes; but I do worry about people who are earning very little, yet pay local, state, and federal taxes. I think they need to be able to deduct what they paid to the state.

It’s the Wealth, Stupid
Meanwhile, a feature in the Village Voice says that the misleading exit polls — you know, the ones that indicated that moral values were the important factor in the election — actually covered up the real situation: that the wealthy turned out to push Bush over the top.

Pundits blow hot air. Political scientists crunch numbers. On his blog Polysigh, my favorite political scientist, Phil Klinkner, ran a simple exercise. Multiplying the turnout among a certain group by the percent who went for Bush yields a number electoral statisticians call “performance.” Among heavy churchgoers, Bush’s performance last time was 25 percent (turnout, 42 percent; percentage of vote, 59 percent). This time out it was also 25 percent—no change. Slightly lower turnout (41 percent), slightly higher rate of vote (61 percent).

Where did the lion’s share of the extra votes come from that gave George Bush his mighty, mighty mandate of 51 percent? “Two of those points,” Klinkner said when reached by phone, “came solely from people making over a 100 grand.” The people who won the election for him—his only significant improvement over his performance four years ago—were rich people, voting for more right-wing class warfare.

Their portion of the electorate went from 15 percent in 2000 to 18 percent this year. Support for Bush among them went from 54 percent to 58 percent. “It made me think about that scene in Fahrenheit 9/11,” says Klinkner, the one where Bush joked at a white-tie gala about the “haves” and the “have-mores”: “Some people call you the elite,” Bush said. “I call you my base.”

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